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Volume 118

Dinner This Week: Penne Arrabbiata

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Penne Arrabbiata, Turkey Meatballs with Soy and Sesame, and Curry with Potatoes, Cauliflower, Peas, and Chickpeas for dinner in about an hour.

Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.

Dinner 1: Penne Arrabbiata and Bibb and Frisée Salad

For Penne Arrabbiata with complex flavor—not just searing heat—we look beyond the tradition of using only red pepper flakes and include three different types of pepper. By supplementing the pepper flakes with paprika and pickled pepperoncini, we build depth while keeping the spiciness in check. Our Bibb and Frisée Salad calls for a combination of frilly, crunchy frisée and soft, buttery Bibb lettuce. Thinly slicing the celery and apple allows them to combine cohesively with the salad greens. Toasted walnuts add crunch and nuttiness. 

Printable Shopping Lists: Penne Arrabbiata and Bibb and Frisée Salad

Equipment Review Salad Spinners

Which salad spinner model can wash and dry your greens without wearing you out?

Dinner 2: Turkey Meatballs and Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Thanks to a couple of test kitchen tricks, our Turkey Meatballs with Soy and Sesame rival those made with beef or pork. We start with 93 or 85 percent lean turkey and add an egg and fresh bread crumbs to create a cohesive mixture. We also stir in a small amount of unflavored gelatin, which traps moisture and gives the meatballs a juicy mouthfeel. To boost meaty flavor, we add glutamate-rich Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and soy sauce. For crisp-tender Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Soy Sauce and Ginger, we separate the leaves and stalks and cook them separately. Small amounts of soy sauce and fresh ginger accent the bok choy’s fresh, vegetal flavor without overwhelming it.

Printable Shopping Lists: Turkey Meatballs and Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Equipment Review Rice Cookers

With so many options on the market, which one is best? We cooked 50 batches of rice to find out.

Dinner 3: Vegetable Curry and Basmati Rice Pilaf

Toasting store-bought curry powder in a skillet for our Vegetable Curry turns it into a flavor powerhouse. In addition to the curry powder, a few pinches of garam masala add even more spice flavor. To build the rest of our flavor base, we start with a generous amount of golden sautéed onions plus potent aromatics like garlic, ginger, and fresh chiles. For Basmati Rice Pilaf with light, fluffy, aromatic grains, we first rinse the rice to remove excess starch. Then we sizzle whole spices in oil before toasting the rice itself. A final step of steaming ensures a dry, fluffy texture.

Printable Shopping ListsVegetable Curry and Basmati Rice Pilaf


To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.